ERIC Number: ED250679
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1982-Nov-21
Reference Count: N/A
A Perspective on Teaching the English Language.
Allen, Harold B.
During the first half-century of the existence of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), the teaching of grammar aroused furious debate among its members. In 1924, Charles C. Fries assembled a panel of six language scholars to answer three questions: (1) What should English teachers know about the English language? (2) Do the usual college courses in Old English, Chaucer, and historical grammar give prospective English teachers an adequate introduction to the language? and (3) Can linguistic scholarship offer anything practical to teaching correct English? The committee's subsequent statement recommended that English teacher preparation include adequate study of the historical development of English pronunciation, grammar, and vocabulary, but also stated that knowledge of the principles of general linguistics is of greater value than a knowledge of the history of the language. Though officially adopted by NCTE 23 years later, this position called for an about face in teacher preparation, and met massive resistance. As recently as 1961 only a few institutions were graduating prospective teachers with even minimal information about modern language and only a handful required a course in modern English grammar. This polarity between the grammatical rules and the new descriptive statements about language use, together with other language polarities, are expanding and strengthening the awareness of the need for greater sophistication with respect to language theory and its applications in the field of English teaching. (HTH)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Teachers; Practitioners
Authoring Institution: N/A